German Bundesliga side Nurnberg have seemingly given up hope of keeping rising star Ilkay Gundogan beyond the end of the season.

Manchester United have been tracking the progress of the Germany Under 21 star after missing out on Real Madrid playmaker, Mesut Ozil, over the summer.

German sides Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim have also registered an interest in Gundogan, who is under contract at Nurnberg until the summer of 2012, but it is believed Manchester United are in pole position.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has had Gundogan, still only 20-years-old, watched on numerous occasions this season.

Gundogan is valued at around £8 million and has earned rave reviews for the Bundesliga side this season due to his position and Turkish background, the player has been likened to Real Madrid star Mesut Oezil.

Now Gundogan looks set to follow Ozil out of Germany with a move to Europe. Manchester United are favourites for his signature.

Manchester United have money to spend after the Glazers promised Sir Alex Ferguson a big transfer kitty to add to his squad. Ferguson has said he will not make any further signings in January, so any potential move looks set to take place in the summer, however with his contract soon ending it could force Manchester United to move earlier.

With Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes soon to retire, Antonio Valencia out with a long term injury and Owen Hargreaves suffering yet another injury set back Gundogan could prove a good piece of business for the Old Trafford club.

Nurnberg look resigned to losing their star man and general manager Martin Bader told Kicker: "It's a scenario that Klaus Allofs (Werder Bremen general manager) recently experienced with Mesut Ozil.

"He kept trying to keep hold of him, but eventually, at some point, things were way beyond Bremen's financial limits.

"We are also subject to economic considerations. It's a fact that clubs from inside and outside the Bundesliga have learned about the exceptional qualities of Ilkay Gundogan."

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